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Response to the Syrian Chemical Attacks

Written by on Friday, August 30th, 2013

With the recent reports of confirmed chemical attacks in Syria, the word waits for the response from the United States. A solution, mired in controversy, is sure to bring heated debate from all angles and given that the United States has already postured for missile strikes, the time is now to convince the government of other options.

On December 3, 2012, President Obama issued a warning to President al-Assad stating, “The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable and if you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be consequences, and you will be held accountable.” No sooner than after the warning was issued did Syrian rebels stationed in the city of Homs accuse the Syrian government of using chemical weapons. On April 18, 2013, Great Britain and France produced evidence to the United Nations that would prove that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons in the cities of Homs, Aleppo and parts of Damascus. On August 27, 2013, the White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the United States had “no doubt” the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical weapons attack.

Today, the use of cruise missiles on specific Syrian government targets seems like a foregone conclusion by President Obama and with a strong warning issued in December, it appears that backing down is no longer an option. Many feel that if the attacks are not ordered it will be seen as an act of cowardice and will be construed asz empty threats by the Obama administration. Militarily, the cruise missile buy diazepam valium attack will serve to destroy targets that have largely been removed of any strategic military hardware given the fact that almost a week has passed since the Syrian government has been notified of the impending strikes. Politically, the strikes will prove that chemical attacks will not be tolerated by any country, under any circumstance.

The long term effects of such an attack are at best, murky. Given that the U.S. has spent the better part of the last decade in counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and trillions of dollars have been invested in conducting the operations, the country is war fatigued both militarily and economically and another conflict will only continue to drain our precious resources. Military leaders, both in uniform and out of uniform have voiced their opinions saying that taking the lead on yet another “police action” is not in the best interest of the country. As the former Director of Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold stated, “There’s a broad naiveté in the political class about America’s obligation in foreign policy issues, and scary simplicity about the effects that employing American military power can achieve.”

The United States is at a crossroads and two paths are clear, the question is what path will the country take and which path will be seen by historians as the path of restraint in times of economic hardship and military overuse or a path of pride and arrogance driven by an administration that is committed to action regardless of their long term effects.

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